On the nights following a drive-through-the-night we slept in a bed. I know what you're thinking, there is no way I could drive through the night but we knew that our young kids would be bored to pieces if we drove the long hours during the day, and since we are still fairly young parents (I'm 32 and my husband is 29) we knew that we could survive on six hours of sleep a piece and preferred to be a little tired rather than have screaming crying kids who want OUT of the car.
Since we recently downgraded to a smaller car (we went from a Ford Freestyle which has three rows to a Volkswagon Jetta Sport Wagon which has two rows) we realized that space was going to be a big issue and my husband wanted to utilize the luggage rack and put our soft carrier on top of the car. Now, I'm not a materialistic person, but the new feature of a full-length sunroof was such an exciting new thing to me that I didn't want to use the carrier. And I'll go ahead and pretend that I knew that adding the carrier would cut down on our mpg... Yah... We'll say I knew that.
Packing was hard because Thomas and I are both over packers, plus I knew we'd be picking up stuff along the way, but I made a plan and stuck to it. Here is my packing list:
5 outfits for each of us
4 jammies for the kids, 2 for the adults
1 sweatshirt for each of us
3 pair of socks for each kid
2 running outfits for each adult
1 wedding outfit for each of us
2 pair shoes for each of us
1 swimsuit for each of us
Genny's cathing supplies
Genny's enema supplies
3 beach towels
Toiletries (I didn't pack things I knew our relatives would have like q-tips, hair dryer, etc)
Books and Kindle
2 divided plates (this helped out with crafts and also eating)
Large soft lunch bag for cold items such as veggies and fruit
Food bag with: bagels, almond milk, chips, pretzels, variety packs of crackers, candy, and several 1 liter water bottles
Ear plugs, sleep mask and neck pillow
3 throw-size blankets
2 pillow pets
I put like items in bags, I used handled grocery bags so I could tie the handles making the contents stay in better. My bags included: shoes, kids clothes, adult clothes, jammies. I also used smaller drawstring bags, one for adult undies and one for kids undies and socks. I used one wet bag for our running stuff and an one for swimsuits. It was nice to have everything separated because it was easier to find and pack. We had a 24 hour bag which had cathing stuff for Genny, one pair of undies for each child, an outfit for each child and jammies for all of us. I also had two bags for dirty clothes, which is a must-have in my opinion. I don't have a link for those bags, but I've been making them and giving them to anyone who sponsors my Three Day Breast Cancer Walk.
Things to keep us busy while driving:
DVD players, DVDs and headphones for the kids (the headphones were the best idea of all)
Paper, new coloring books, stickers, and crayons
It turns out that almost everywhere we stopped, our hosts had something to give the kids for the trip. Some gave stickers, some gave stuffed animals, and my sister topped them all with a bag of items including Crayola Model Magic which is similar to play dough, but it doesn't crumble. I also bought small packs of beads and elastic string which was a big hit the 2nd to last travel day when we woke up at the Grand Canyon and ended up back at my aunt and uncle's house in Phoenix.
The thing that was the most stressful was putting together the itinerary. Once that was done, I typed it up and sent it out to everyone on my e-mail list that was in the area we were visiting. Thomas and I have wonderful family that open their doors for us if we're in the area, and it was great to spend time with them all. We are so happy we went on this trip, and if you have any questions that I didn't answer, please feel free to comment below.